IVANO BELLINI / MIAMI – Few DJ/producers ascend to the heights of greatness, where their live sets are considered as valuable and inimitable as those of skilled orchestral conductors. Having been a professional DJ since 1986, Ivano Bellini today exemplifies the term *superstar DJ* with his long-running “Sunrise Sessions” afterhours residency. A resident DJ on the famed Terrace at Miami’s Club Space for seven years (since its inception in the original Space), Bellini was nominated as “Best Resident DJ” at the 2006 Club World Awards.
Ivano Bellini’s sound is intoxicatingly sophisticated, irresistibly sexy and full of hidden pleasures. At a time when advances in technology produce fledgling producers at a dime-a-dozen, Bellini is among the rare breed of *global DJs* whose name on a club flyer is enough to draw crowds from far and wide. With a catalog of his own artist tracks, popular remixes, compilations and a full-length artist album on the way, Bellini has established himself in the dance music industry as a penultimate professional.
Lifting his listeners to exhilarating highs on buoyant blasts of audio dynamite, Ivano Bellini is the DJ’s DJ. He speaks four languages fluently (his native French, Italian, Spanish and English), and he never tires of the arduous task of finding, producing and playing the world’s best electronic music. He also can’t imagine his life without DJing. He says, “I’ve been DJing for more than 21 years. If not for the love of it, I would’ve left this business a long time ago. That’s what I always tell ‘kids’ when they ask me about what it takes to succeed as a DJ: Do it for the right reasons, or you’ll get burned very quickly.”
Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1966, the young Bellini was influenced by his father’s jazz performances, as well as the sounds of funk, soul, disco and pop music. In 1989 – just as the dance music scene was undergoing a tectonic shift with the revolutionary success of “Madchester” in the UK, elevating DJs to the level of rock stars – Bellini won first-place in Switzerland’s National DJ Championship. In 1991, Bellini moved to South America where he lived briefly, but it was a year later when he flew to South Beach on vacation that his life changed. Falling in love with the sultry rhythms and exotic flavors of Miami’s stylish inhabitants, Bellini decided to stay and helped form the “South Beach sound” with residencies at nightclubs Le Loft, Van Dome, BarRoom, Living Room, Opium and Nikki Beach, hosting such high-profile audiences as Madonna, U2, Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Mick Jagger. More recently, celebrities like Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx have been regular guests at Bellini’s parties in New York and Miami.
Word spread about the sensuous, fun-loving atmosphere created by Bellini’s DJ sets, and soon, respected nightclubs in Amsterdam, Ibiza, London and the U.S. were clamoring to have him play at their venues. Bellini says, “I moved to South Beach in ‘91 and started to make a name for myself there, and I really started to travel in 1996. The feeling was awesome. I’d always loved to travel, but the best part was to know that my music was appreciated all over the world, and that it could touch people’s souls far away from where I lived.”
Joining forces with DJs Pierre ZonZon and Marc Sacheli, Bellini created SFP Records (Sounds For People Records) in 1996, the label that today houses a diverse array of talented artists and sub-genre imprints. As SFP Records’ label chief, Ivano Bellini is in the enviable position of discovering the best new artists, playing their music out in clubs, and finally releasing them on his own label.
In 2000 club-promoter Luis Puig asked him to take part in Puig’s latest nightclub undertaking: the ambitious nightclub in downtown Miami which spawned the area now housing Nocturnal, Twilo and other superclubs. Puig’s venue Space would go on to win the coveted DanceStar Award for “Best Club,” and undeniably, Bellini’s celebrated Sunrise Sessions sets on Space’s open-air Terrace significantly contributed to the club’s success. Over the years, Miami’s Space has hosted every global DJ under the sun, including: Paul Van Dyk, Deep Dish, Danny Tenaglia, Tiësto, Paul Oakenfold, Steve Lawler, Sander Kleinenberg, Erick Morillo, Roger Sanchez, and an endless list. But before any of these world-famous DJs came to play at Space, Ivano Bellini was already its resident.
House music legend Danny Tenaglia was a regular visitor at Space, and in 2001, he witnessed one of Bellini’s marathon sets. A journalist for DJ Magazine wrote that Bellini’s performance was the “Best Surprise DJ Set” of the entire Winter Music Conference. Tenaglia soon invited Bellini to spin with him at his “Be Yourself @ Vinyl” parties in New York, and the city’s demanding crowds quickly embraced Bellini for his exceptional DJing skills.
In the DJ booth, Bellini now uses the Ableton Live software. Using Live has re-energized him, a feeling akin to that of a rebirth. The creative capabilities are limitless. Now the DJ’s imagination and talent are the only limitations, not his gear. Thanks to Live he can now create flawlessly while playing, remixing live, adding multiple layers of loops and acapellas, making each set an unique experience.
Today, Ivano Bellini’s regularly DJs at clubs in Miami, New York, Boston, Orlando and Las Vegas, as well as internationally in Berlin (Germany), Alassio (Italy), Toronto (Canada), Ibiza (Spain), St. Tropez (France), Bogotá (Colombia), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Sao Paulo (Brazil), and Tunisia (Africa). Bellini’s SFP Records was one of the first dance music labels to be sold on Apple’s iTunes and is also releasing tunes on Beatport. Fans can hear Ivano Bellini’s weekly live club mixes from around the world on his various radio shows and his weekly Podcast.
Lately, Ivano Bellini has also been busy producing. His next project include new remixes of Lula’s club-classic “The DJ, The Music & Me” soon to be released on New York based Kult.
Of the house music he holds so dear, Bellini likes to say, “Convert one city at a time, one person at a time.”